Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A "Warning" Sign...if you're on a diet.

It was a bright red, glowing beacon.

A warm spot with delicious aromas.

My eyes almost glazed.

I had read the light had been turned off for about four days for remodeling and I am sure the recognized symbol was sorely missed.

But, tonight it was alight again and tranquility along Savannah Highway
was restored.

Yes, the symbol of hot stuff at Krispy Kreme was shining again.

I had read that the place had closed for less than a week to do a major facelift, brightening and new tables and chairs.

Passing by, I was curious to see how it looked now.

As some know, I have been successfully dieting for several months and have dropped my weight from 206 down to 182-183.

Needless to say I have NOT been hanging out at a doughnut shop.

But this was "research" so I grabbed my camera and pushed through the glass doors to see what had changed.

First I noticed a Starbucks look with comfy chairs and a couch forming a small conversation area.

Lots of new tile work was evident and the close-up viewing area near the assembly line of tasty treats now had a solid wall keeping curious kids' fingers and hands  away from moving parts. Good idea!

It sure looked bright and clean.

The new tables  - some short, some high - had an inviting look.

"Get some doughnuts, a cup of coffee and settle back for a nice break," the room seemed to say.

Admittedly, I came in during a lull.

Three people arrived just before I did and they were talking about the changes.

We all seemed to agree it was bright and cheerful.

The difference was they were ordering several dozens of the glazed and some chocolates ones.

If you are going to get doughnuts at the "factory" where they are made, you ask that they be plucked right off the line, still delightfully warm.

Otherwise, you could pick up a box or so at a nearby grocery store.

Years and years ago, before Krispy Kreme was available on the West Coast, I had sent a wrapped dozen to my daughter as a present for her graduation.

From the California Police Academy.

She passed them around to fellow new officers and everyone enjoyed being part of a law enforcement cliche.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

No, I did NOT eat a doughnut.

Really.

Just took some pictures, jotted down some notes, climbed back in my car and drove home.

This morning my scale read 181 pounds.

Yesss!





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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Learned something new, er, I mean, old.

This is NOT an old photograph called a tintype.

It was NOT taken on a "wet glass plate" using the colloidal process.

It was taken in a studio in a mall about 20 years ago in Minneapolis the one year I lived in a VERY cold climate. I'm not as dumb as I look - I accepted the first job I was offered in Florida.

They asked if I wanted to come down and visit and I said it was not necessary. I accepted the job because it was in Florida...not Minnesota.

But, I digress.

At the December 10 meeting of my Photography Group, we saw a presentation by Christine Eadie, a legal secretary who calls her old timey process company Charleston Tintypist.

Get it? She's a typist and makes tintype photos on metal. The same process used during the Civil War.

Or, as it is called here, the "Recent Unpleasantness."

Back in the 1860s, if you wanted to make a large photo, it required a large camera.

This is an 8 x 10 bellows camera that used a wet plate that size. This is a much newer model but the lens is quite old.

Christine explained the step-by-step process and then told how she packs up all her accessories and goes into the field at local battle Re-enactments.

She reasoned these costumed participants would appreciate the authenticity of having their photo taken this way.

She said that has worked well so far.

But they also expected all of her equipment to be the Real McCoy too.

Short of building a mule-drawn portable darkroom wagon, she works on a much smaller scale.

The process (see the link) does involve some caustic chemicals and she wears modern protective safety glasses and takes other steps to avoid injury.

She told us that the "fixer" that stabilizes the image on the wet glass is Potassium Cyanide.

Yeah, pretty dangerous stuff that can blind you if it splashes into your eyes. Same with Silver Halide crystals.

That happened to the famed photographer Mathew Brady, while he covered the aftermath of Civil War battles.

Christine said many of the photos we attribute to Brady were taken by his many assistants after his vision was impaired.

The real beauty of these tintypes, preserved on thin sheets of iron, is they are "varnished" at the end and exist in fine shape even after 150 years.

With today's dependence on digital, one could not be assured that images would be available after changes in software!

Christine brought half a dozen of her finished products as part of her presentation.

We photographers had many questions and foremost was the length of exposure on this "slow speed" medium.

She said an exposure of 3-10 seconds often was required.

Illustrations of various clamps and devices were shown that were used to hold the subject's head steady.

Any movement would cause a blur.

Other contraptions were clamped to hold a subject's body in place during the exposure to avoid such blurring.

I asked if she had experimented with using a modern flash and she said she had.

I commented that photographers during that period who used flash powder probably could be recognized because they lacked eyebrows.

Laughter ensued.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

The links I added will give you more background on the topic and I am sure Christine would be willing and able to answer your questions.

I see flash powder being used in photos taken in the 1920s and later.

Well, I used flashbulbs when I started out. Anyone remember those?

Now my camera has a built-in strobe light that flashes at 1/2000th of a second.

Yikes.

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Monday, December 08, 2014

Shhhh! Our little Post Office secret...


 A buddy of mine was re-doing his office and got rid of his bookshelves.

Got a new desk, new ergonomic chair but no new book racks.

"Whatcha gonna do with all your books?" I asked.

"Do you want them?" he responded.

"Sure," I said, "you have a LOT!"

I have belonged to a Book Swap Club for several years and this would give me several stacks of new ones to offer for swapping.























As soon as I started posting my newest books, I started receiving requests.

Many others have figured out it's ok to spend about $2.50 at the post office to send away a book you've already read..and choose one that you want....for free.

The sender pays the postage.

When I mail out a book, I receive one credit to use for a replacement book.

I've "swapped" more than 100 books since I joined several years ago.

When you get a response for a book you're seeking, the club suggests you check and see what others that member might have to offer.

Doubling up on books you send out saves postage.

Ah, but there is a fly in the ointment, so to speak. You can buys stamps to avoid standing in line at the post office but, if it weighs more than 13 ounces, you have to go there and stand in line to mail it.

I usually go to the post office on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston and today, the lot was filled with cars...at 2 in the afternoon. Inside, there were 30 people in line ahead of me. Sigh.

Walked back out to my car and hit "find closest post office" on my Smartphone. It showed there was one less than 2 miles away! Huh?


And there was!

I walked in just as the other customer was leaving.

Paid the postage on three books and walked out in about 30 seconds!

I asked if this was a new thing and the young lady said it had been there for 3 years.

It has a contract with the USPS to weight things and sell postage. No passport or money orders but I was in often just to mail some books.

So, here's the deal.

They've been there for three years. I have stood in long lines during all that time just a few miles away.

Now I could just pop in, mail my stuff, and be on my way.

I'm not about to ruin this by telling everyone where this is located.

Let your smartphone whisper the news to you that there ARE options.

Shhh.

Let's just keep this among ourselves so crowds don't find it.

Be cool or we're back to standing at the end of a long line.

I might just grab a burrito at Chipotle  on my way home.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Yes, I gave some clues but keep it on the DL.

Thanks.




I

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Monday, December 01, 2014

"Hoppy" but not like in beer....


Did not expect to run into an image of William Boyd while I was in Cheyenne.

He played Hopalong Cassidy in about a gazillion B Western movies when I was growing up.

I seem to remember he always wore the white hat.

You know, the "good guy" hat.

Maybe his white horse ("Topper") stood for the All-America Winner who beat up the bad guys.

I remember getting to the George Street YMCA late on a Saturday morning and asking the fellow at the desk if the free morning cowboy movie was over.

"Hmmm," he said, looking at his watch.
"About now, ol' Hopalong is catching up to the bad guy and leaping from Topper and knocking them both to the ground."

I went in and he was right!

Cheyenne was part of the rip-snortin', fist-swingin" Old West all right.

Strolled though the railroad museum downtown, just off the Interstate and saw this article.

More of a railroadin' kinda place.

Not too far from Promontory Point over in Utah.

That's where the railroad linked up and the Golden Spike was driven in.

Now there was a transcontinental railroad that linked the east and the West.

As a contrast, my younger brother and I stopped to take a look at the newest thing in transportation.

Here was a 4-place charging station for cars that run on batteries.

Would have liked to have seen a car silently pull up, hook up and get a chance to talk to the driver about his mileage.

Wouldn't be miles per gallon. Miles per charge?

Wide open spaces around Cheyenne.

Hope there are plenty of these around. Guess drivers learn quickly where they are and start to zero in as time runs close.

I used a fancy Plug-In to create this image of the Capitol.

Supposed to give the effect of a pen and ink sketch.

Yes, there WERE light poles and wires but I got rid of them.

This is not exactly the scene as you drive toward the imposing structure.

It was a crisp morning - temps in the teens -so the stark white is a good rendition.

We had met one of my older brother's sons - Edward - at a nearnby Starbucks so we were fortified for the weather.

The wind though was unrelenting. Brrr.

Almost at the front door inside the 3-story Capitol was a reminder that this was a land where the buffalo roamed.

Cross-country trains and huge buffalo kills.

Well, you have to eat out on the prairies. And that big guy is wearing a mighty fine robe that would keep you warm..

Lots of exhibits in the building and nicely arranged and laid out.

The centerpiece of pride I guess is the annual Cheyenne Fontier Days Rodeo, the last two weeks in July each year.

The site says the Rodeo used to also include a Chuck Wagon race.

Maybe they've been replaced by Food Trucks? Seems to be happening everywhere.

Bring the food to where the people are.

My nephew Edward poses in front of the 3rd floor mural.

It is a combination of various panels depicting the state's heritage, history and diversity.

Click on the photo for more detail.

He admitted this was his first time inside the Capitol.

I reminded him that most New Yorkers have not been atop the Empire State Building.

"Later," we think. "I'll do it later."

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

A-CHOO.....a-choo ...a-choo. And, that's 3.

 A common topic right now is the Common Cold.

Aah - Choo!

Some say that "sound" is short for  Autosomal Dominant 

Compelling Helioopthalmic 

Outburst.

In many cases, the response is "God 

bless you."


Like others around the Lowcountry, I have been working my way though many of the tiresome symptoms.

My doctor told me he had tried some over the counter meds and they helped him get some very much needed sleep.

Not quite through with this seasonal malady yet but can see the tissue box at the end of the tunnel.

I found that toilet paper is not the best thing to use for a runny nose absorption, but was better than a soggy handkerchief.

Kleenex is a registered trade marked name and I learned years ago in journalism class that it should have the-R-in-a-circle symbol

I have looked for a page of such symbols and, finally, gave up.

My intention was righteous.


These funny cartoons referring to the "Common Cold" all have a point to make.

And, as they say, laughter is good medicine.

Looks like we got a sunny break today for Thanksgiving gatherings and dinners.

But those with a head cold don't want to share that at a family gathering.

And those who have not been infected yet would just as soon pass.

In my case, it's Day 4 and I am feeling a bit more energetic.

Went for my semi-annual checkup yesterday and I called the doctor's office beforehand to say I have a head cold.

They said "it's going around" and they had flu masks available at the front desk.

I walked into the empty waiting room, donned a mask and sat back to check my phone for messages.

As others entered, they saw me in a mask and they got one to keep the protection shield working.

Group dynamics.

When the doctor thumped my chest and had me take several deep breaths, he said there were no rattling sounds inside me.

When I left, I kept the mask handy because I planned to stop at the grocery store.

It's not like it was going to be re-used for another patient!

With the mask on, people tend to keep their distance as you roll your cart past them in the store.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

I did stock up on navel oranges and some more aspirin.

And, yes, I had had my annual flu shot a few weeks ago.


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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Shoshone vs Mohawk

 While I was in Cheyenne, Wyoming last week, I saw an impressive statute of Chief Washakie.

It stands out in front of the state capitol.

He was the leader of the Shoshone tribe for 60 years.

History describes him as a moderate who negotiated a large tract of good land for his people.

Later, of course, there were incursions on the property but Chief Washakie was a wise ruler and held his own.

The temperature was hovering in the teens/ low twenties so this was a "quick" shot.

I wanted to duck into the capitol and get out of the frigid and fierce Cheyenne Wind.

I had lived in Kansas long ago and the wind came sweeping across the plains, slowed only by barbed wire and wooden posts.

Later, I had dinner at Sandfords Grub & Pub, downtown on a busy Saturday night.

My brother got an 8 oz steak and a baked potato that might have weighed several pounds. It was huge.

I opted for a grilled chicken "burger" with mixed veggies on the side.

Our server came by often, promising our food would be here "soon." That actually dragged out to about 30 minutes but, finally we could start to eat.

When she brought the check, she said the manager had comped the meal because of the long wait. My brother asked if the manager could stop by - he wanted to kiss her!

The manager had a distinctive, well-groomed hair style and chin whiskers. A hand shake instead of a kiss.

With the cold temps, and the howling wind, probably a good idea to grow his hair long for extra warmth.

After I got back from Wyoming, I was seated down front for the James Taylor concert at the Coliseum. He was backed by a 10-piece talented band.

What a terrific almost 3-hour show!

I was a typical audience member, growing up with his music in the 60s and 70s.

The first of his five Grammy Awards was "Fire and Rain," followed in 1972, by "You've Got A Friend."

In his more than 40-year musical career, he has sold more than 100,000,000 albums. Yikes.

If you click the link, I found the evening's set list.

I am sure you will find many memorable songs that you enjoyed growing up.

Drums, congas, penny whistle, violin, accordion,  saxophone, bass guitar, three backup singers and an array of keyboards.

The show was spectacular and had the crowd on it's feet quite a few times.

The lighting and sound was so good, you forgot your chair was sitting above the hockey ice surface in a large arena.

I think everyone in the world now has a phone or tablet to take photographs.


(Click on the photos for more details.)

After seeing the heads full of hair up in Wyoming, Taylor's bald
pate really stood out.

He spent the 20-minute intermission, sitting on the front edge of the stage, signing photos, some albums and posed for hundreds of pictures/.

When he got up to start the second set, he whipped out his soft hat and wore that for the rest of the show.

I came home and saw that I had his vinyl album "Sweet Baby James" sitting in front of my extensive CD collection.

I also still have a turntable. Might crank that up in a day or two.

Nice hair James.



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Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's OK to "look sharp"....

This happens to be a Cedar-planked salmon brought to my table while still flaming.

The plank was burning and the fish was delicious.

I was in Cheyenne, Wyoming and worried that my choices for seafood would be limited to local trout.

Not a bad meal but I saw this on the menu and chose this instead.

Chile was where this came from and it was prepared great on a cold and blustery night.

My younger brother and I had made a hasty flight to Wyoming to say goodbye to our older brother who had just been diagnosed with a terminal disease. He was at home with Hospice.


He was aware we were there and I saw he was surrounded by family and love. I am happy for that!

He passed peacefully on Tuesday morning.

In his honor, that afternoon I stopped by a saloon next to the downtown historic train depot and had a beer in his name.

I asked the bartender what it meant on the napkin that this was also a "Liquormart?"

The obvious answer was you could step into another part of the room and buy bottled spirits to go.

No, there were no big red dots on the front of the building.

Just a snug bar, a few afternoon workmen in heavy overalls taking a break and plenty of empty tables and chairs awaiting the dinner crowd.

We had flown into Denver on Saturday and rented a car to drive the hundred or so miles up to the Wyoming Capital city. It was snowing lightly but the roads were salted and plowed so no problem.


I have written before about my older brother Jerry, although his friends and family up here knew him as Virgil.

Our Dad was Virgil Gerald Boyd and his first son was a Junior.

The Boyd Brothers ran all around Charleston growing up.

Well, all around Ansonborough.

Kids played pretty close to home back then, usually in the neighborhood, so we could hear when we were called in for supper.

In those days, my older brother was also my taller brother  but it wasn't long after I entered my teens, he became just older, not taller.

Even my younger brother surpassed Jerry in height.

Poor guy!

Let's just say he never had to duck his head when coming through a doorway.

I don't really recall the WWII war years but apparently Mom would take her two boys for a walk up the few blocks from Society Street to Marion Square.

Maybe it was still the Citadel in the 1940s? I'll have to look that up.

I guess my Dad was taking the picture and I look like the attentive photographer I would become in the future.

At least he followed the Eastman Kodak suggestion that you stand with the sun shining over your right shoulder.

We were not squinting so, all in all, Dad, I approve this picture.

I'm guessing he did not say "Smile."

And, yes, my right hand IS clinging to my Mom's dress.

Taller brother is keeping an alert eye.

I was able to meet his extended family as they popped in and out and see the love and care they had for my brother.

His daughter was being assisted by Hospice and they delivered what was promised: peace, comfort and dignity for the patient.

Quietly in the background, they attended to his needs.

They kept him as alert as possible while adding moral and spiritual support to the entire family.

Most importantly, we were able to look at pictures and videos that showed how healthy, happy and active he had been.

Several years before, his daughter had suggested he move up to Wyoming and be embraced by family. He quickly  made friends and a church connection.

He was re-married the end of September and looked forward to a nice, comfortable life but medical problems arose and accelerated his decline.

The house was filled with an array of babies!

New life being celebrated and his pastor was there to comfort his soul.

My younger brother and I are pleased we got the timing right and were able to communicate - mainly through our talking and mutual hand squeezes - that he knew we were there for him.

I hope he knows I still looked up to him even after I grew taller.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

Oh, the headline! We drove back to Denver after his passing and ate at Timberline Steak House, near Gate 39C at the airport. Because of the cute name, I had the Mile High Club sandwich and my brother ordered a thick steak.

Looked great but he was having a problem cutting it with a table knife. We were told no sharp knives were allowed in the airport area. He asked if the chef had one? "Of course," smiled the server.

"Then please have him cut my steak into small pieces," brother responded. The plate was shortly returned, the meat neatly cut and a fresh order of french fries heaped alongside.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Possibly, I am offended...

But, technically, the terms do work.

And I usually do look forward to comments.

This, doggone it, is a bit harsh.

Wonder how long Rover has been responding to the blog pictured?

In dog years, of course.

Would a blogger lift a hand to stop the dog from lifting a leg?

Free speech...sorta.

(I DID laugh when I saw it.)

(And shared it.)

(And will make sure the credit is shown.)

Maybe the artist will receive comments.

LOL




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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

 I had been in Prague a few days and had trouble figuring out what most of the signs meant.

I don't speak (or read) Czech so I was pleased when I saw a sign that I could decipher.

And I was right.

Here they spoke English and I was able to read the beer menu.

Oh, and choose an appetizer.

This was at the end of a tour of the Municipal House. The tour ticket included a BOGO (Buy One Get One free) at the bar downstairs.

I know I should have been going oh and aw at this fantastic collection of art Nouveau architecture.

Next door I had admired - and then - walked through the arch beneath the Power Tower.

Distinctive.

But there were so many beautiful sights, everywhere you looked.

The guide books and tours we took kept explaining Prague had been spared the ravages of war and many buildings dated back to the 14th Century or earlier.

Of course, it had been occupied by Germany during WWII and then by Communists until 1990.

This city has Prague Castle on a hill overlooking the Vitava River and the famed Charles Bridge, started in 1357 and finished in the 15th Century.

What was really needed was something more modern, as a counterpoint to all this preserved beauty.

So Frank Gehry came up with "Dancing House."

He's the man who designed the shiny Disney Center in downtown Los Angeles and the "Paper Sack" building in Sydney, Australia.

He also - on camera - gave his critics the finger.

This visitor delight is also called the "Ginger & Fred,"alluding to the dance team's motions of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

I can see a tango going on there.

The day I saw it, there were signs proclaiming the rooftop bar was open until midnight.

I covered over that.

Posters wrapped around pillars on the ground floor, advertising clients who had offices there.

Yeah, Photoshop and I minimized those.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the phone number prospective tenants could call to book space in this unusual-looking "house."

I also removed several street lights, overhead wires and a traffic signal that really had to  go. You're welcome Frank!

On Kampa Island, a park overlooking the Charles Bridge, I walked over a small tributary with a water wheel.

I was told to look for the locks and I pictured scenes from Amsterdam where large locks could be opened and closed with huge wheels to control the water levels in the many canals.

Well, Duh. NOT that kind of locks.

These multi-hued little items signified unending love by couples who snapped a lock on the railing and then tossed the key into the water.

A few were cute but I think there is a lot of love and devotion here and perhaps this has gotten out of hand.

I just read about a bridge in Paris that was so loaded down with these types of love tokens that the structure itself suffered from the increased weight.

I just gave up on trying to frame a shot with locks all around it. The photographer attempting to do that became my picture.

When you are in Prague, and the evening light starts to change, you look up at Prague Castle (Prazssky Hrad) and try to capture the grandeur of structures dating back to the 9th Century.

I had spent hours up there admiring the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Bohemian Crown Jewels and St. George's Basilica.

Great views from the balcony where kings and rulers had stood and looked over their domain.

It is still the seat of Czech government.

Like most of the European cities I have visited, walking is the best way to see things.

Go where large tour buses can't squeeze in.

Try to avoid the marching troops of tourists following a guide holding up an umbrella and probably saying, in Czech, follow me.

Sit at a sidewalk table and do some people-watching. Sip a coffee and eat some cake.

That's where people pass on their way to and from work, rushing on errands, or looking for a place to buy a romantic lock and key.

And, as you wander and wonder, look up now and then.

You are probably being watched from above.

These guys are everywhere and a zoom lens helps bring them closer for inspection.

That's when you notice the small wires protruding from their back to ward off pigeons.

Pigeons aren't the only problem.

Accumulated grime (for centuries?) has to be removed and facades cleaned.

I saw a huge church undergoing such a cleaning and restoration project.

Each section being reclaimed was covered by a huge scrim,  painted to show the "before" that would be perfected by the process that would be the "after."

David Cerny, internationally famous Czech sculptor, was asked to do his magic on the Zizkov Television tower, looming 216 meters above the city.

His vision resulted in space-age giant babies crawling up and down, all over the shiny tower.

My view, even with a long telephoto lens, gives the feeling but not the crisp details.

The link gives the background on how and why the Zizkov Tower was "enhanced."

The officials approved and the citizens love it.

I wish I had sought out other examples of his work.

(Click on the photos to see more detail).

Again I have to comment how nice it is to go over your pictures after the trip is over.

Relive moments. Remember sights. Share the adventure with others.

Yeah, you could say I love photography.

Film and digital.

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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Lack of light.....helps black & white photography.

Billy Thompson and his band came down from "D.C."

That's like in Washington, D.C.,
he added.

This was Friday night at Home Team, on Sullivan's Island.

Roaming around down south for a while, heading to Atlanta next then wrapping up the 2-month road trip tour in Birmingham, Alabama.

Long time to be traveling for one night stands.

Actually, he had played at Prohibition on King Street, the night before.

I saw he was originally scheduled to be the headliner in Columbia at the 20th annual Blues Festival.

I've attended several of those events, held usually in November - whatever weekend USC had a bye or an away game.

Martin Luther King Park at Five Points is relatively uncrowded at that time during college football season

Don't know why but the 20th did not happen this year.

Probably involving lack of sponsors.

Whatever, it brought a stellar performer down our way and the crowd at Home Team and Prohibition had a talented treat.

Earlier, Wednesday night, I was sitting at the bar in The Mill, watching as the 4-person band got set to play.

The stage area is rather small and one player or another always seemed to be wandering out of the band space.

Traveling Broke and Out of Gas  were preparing to dish out some "Bastard Americana" as they call it.

Cody Hall, on lead guitar and vocals. was joined by Rachael Yanni, strong voiced and working hard on a scrub board.

The band, from Lafayette, Indiana, often switch instruments, even in the middle of a set, so nothing was really carved in stone.

Cody shuffled around and took his turn in the back on the drums, Rachel put aside the washboard and sang original songs, amid instrumental diversity and worked the lyrical magic.

They have produced three complete albums, and do national and regional tours.

Their site says they appear in coffee shops, dive bars (thank you Mill with no cover charge), stadiums, concert halls and even on street corners.

It was an evening of folk/blues/rock/ with some hill country twang thrown in for good measure.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

 Not for color though, it was a B&W kind of week.

*My right eye cataract surgery was done early the next morning and my vision has improved greatly. Now both eyes are working together again.

Nice.






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